Tag Archives: Leiothrix

All kinds of backyard birds

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Backyard Birding.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Almost all the birds I see in the backyard are fairly common, but no less interesting for that.

Red-billed leiothrix

A red-billed leiothrix perched on a branch in a kipuka on the Pu’u O’o trail off Saddle Road. A kipuka is an area of land that has been surrounded by a lava flow. Kipukas often contain older trees and other plants that are a haven for native and non-native birds and other creatures.

This leiothrix had an exceptionally red bill because it was carrying a bit of ripe thimbleberry, presumably to young birds in a nest nearby.

Red-billed leiothrix

A Red-billed Leiothrix sings on a branchA Red-billed Leiothrix sings on a branch
This is the last of my series of posts in response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge on the theme of ‘evanescent.’

Picture the scene: I’m sitting quietly in my living room when a small shape flits past a window accompanied by a harsh chittering. I jump up, grab my camera and rush outside. As I do so, I turn the camera on, adjust settings and figure out the best place to intercept the bird that just flew by. I go around the house and sure enough, the sound is loud. And there it is, in the hedge. I raise the camera, but its gone. Over there now. I move, refocus. There it is again. I snap a photo. Gone again. I do this a couple more times, and then it goes quiet. There’s no more movement. The bird’s moved on.

Now repeat this scene, a couple of times a week and you have my experience with the red-billed leiothrix. It’s such a beautiful bird, but all my efforts had produced was a collection of photos of bits of wing, disembodied beaks, barely discernable blurry shapes, or just bare branches and leaves. The jittery, hyperactive birds were evanescent, quickly disappearing from sight time after time.

So imagine my surprise when this one showed up. It was one of a pair. The other one, true to its kind, instantly disappeared into a bush. But this one appeared not to have read the leiothrix operation manual. It stayed on this branch, in full view, for a couple of minutes. True, it wasn’t ever exactly stationary, it’s head going from side to side every two seconds. And it called out continuously, probably wanting to know why its partner was skulking in the bush. Somewhere the message must have got through because the bird joined its partner and the two of them, true to form, flitted off from branch to branch, through the hedge and disappeared from view.